Soccer

England to face Portugal in Milton Keynes ahead of Women’s World Cup

Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses will face Portugal in Milton Keynes before travelling to the World Cup (Jacob King/PA)
Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses will face Portugal in Milton Keynes before travelling to the World Cup (Jacob King/PA) Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses will face Portugal in Milton Keynes before travelling to the World Cup (Jacob King/PA)

England will face Portugal on July 1 in their final home warm-up match before flying to Australia for the Women’s World Cup.

Sarina Wiegman’s side are due to leave for the tournament four days after the meeting with their fellow finalists in Milton Keynes, with the game to kick-off at 3:15pm and be broadcast live on ITV.

Their opening game of the competition, which is being hosted jointly by Australia and New Zealand, is against Haiti in Brisbane on 22 July, before the team fly to Sydney to face Denmark then finish the group stage against China in Adelaide.

Wiegman finalised her squad for the World Cup, which England are looking to win for the first time following their Euro 2022 triumph last summer, in May with Arsenal’s Beth Mead a notable absence through injury.

Portugal are competing for the first time in the World Cup and are building on their first major tournament appearances at the last two editions of the European Championships.

Canada will be England’s final warm-up opponents in a behind-closed-doors friendly on July 14.

“I am really pleased to have a competitive game for our last home fixture,” said Wiegman. “We had two big games in April against Brazil and Australia where we learned so much.

Beth Mead
Beth Mead Beth Mead will miss the Women’s World Cup through injury (Martin Rickett/PA)

“This will be another challenging match against a team that have performed well and are going to their first World Cup.

“Portugal will also want to show they can be a threat to teams in Australia, and they have very technical players with good ability. For us, it will be important to come together again as a team after the end of the club season and feel the support of our fans.

“We will do our best to give them a good performance. It will only be three weeks until our opening World Cup game so it will be such an important moment in our preparation.”

The Football Association and Women’s Super League clubs had been in a dispute over the release date for players called up to the squad.

The FIFA-sanctioned date by which clubs must make players available is July 10, just 10 days before the tournament kicks off.

It was reported last week that the FA had planned for the squad to meet up on June 19, though a formal agreement between parties took time to reach.

That date has now been confirmed by the FA, which said in a statement: “We are grateful for the mutual understanding of the clubs, as we have collectively worked towards a solution with the wellbeing of players at the heart.”

England beat Portugal the last time the sides met competitively, Toni Duggan and Nikita Parris scoring the goals in a 2-1 win for the Lionesses in the Euro 2017 group stage.